[Milton-L] Is Paradise Lost

jonnyangel junkopardner at comcast.net
Tue Apr 14 11:30:12 EDT 2009


The only thing I¹ll give Bill¹s Sonnets (which have never left the top of my
toilet, where I¹ve read them for years on the crapper) is that he eventually
got little playful with the form, whereas Milton never did. But I¹m not
talking about Sonnets. Shakespeare¹s sonnets mean nothing ­ they¹re
transparent, emotionless words strung together for their own sake. Look at
Milton¹s, especially the one¹s where he muses about how his time was spent.
Shakespeare¹s ³poetry² isn¹t transcendent because it didn¹t ³mean² anything.
I hate to mention that anti-Semite/Milton-hater Ezra Pound, but at the very
least he knew that emotion in poetry was its only transcendent quality.

And yes, Shakespeare ³could² be both a Playwright AND a poet (and even a
plumber), but he wasn¹t. He was a playwright, and his sonnets pale in
comparison to Milton¹s, and comparing the two as ³poets² is like comparing
an orange to motor oil.

And I don¹t need to ³limit² Shakespeare by stating that he wasn¹t a
poet...hell, he did that all by himself.

I love Shakespeare, but the guards changed with Milton.

And thank God for the changing of the guards.


J 




My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red, than her lips red:
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
I grant I never saw a goddess go,
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare,
As any she belied with false compare.

-Bill

When I consider how my light is spent,
    E're half my days, in this dark world and wide,
    And that one Talent which is death to hide,
    Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
    My true account, least he returning chide,
    Doth God exact day labour, light deny'd,
    I fondly ask; But patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need
    Either man's work or his own gifts, who best
    Bear his milde yoak, they serve him best, his State
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
    And post o're Land and Ocean without rest:
    They also serve who only stand and waite.

-M


On 4/14/09 9:34 AM, "Josh Fischer" <josh at louisvillegolf.com> wrote:

> As my favorite Wendell Berry likes to espouse - a human is irreducible, and to
> reduce Shakespeare to only a playwright is to reduce him to the parts of him
> that are popular and ignore the beauty of his sonnets, which gather less press
> but are impressive nonetheless.
> 
> He can be both - playwright and poet, and to reduce him is to limit his
> greatness. Limitations are needless, especially when there are so many actual
> limitations placed on us by being human.
> 
> We are all such "complicated monsters."
>  
> - Joshua Fischer
>  
>  
>>  
>> ----- Original Message -----
>>  
>> From:  jonnyangel <mailto:junkopardner at comcast.net>
>>  
>> To: John Milton Discussion List <mailto:milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>>  
>> Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 8:05  AM
>>  
>> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Is Paradise  Lost
>>  
>> 
>> Thank you Marlene.
>> 
>> But Shakespeare *wasn¹t* a  poet. Not that it¹s a ³bad² thing, but he was a
>> playwright.  
>> 
>> Milton...now that¹s a poet. And I will deny Shakespeare as a poet till  the
>> day I die, unless a real poet shows me something I missed.
>> 
>> ³I've  been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king
>> I've been up  and down and over and out and I know one thing
>> Each time I find myself  layin' flat on my face
>> I just pick myself up and get back in the  race.²
>> 
>> (Thank you Frank.)
>> 
>> And yes, I say Shalom and mean it, but  Shakespeare isn¹t going to dig
>> himself out of his grave and write poetry  either way.
>> 
>> And BTW, Keats, Chaucer and Pope couldn¹t catch Milton if  you dug them all
>> up now and gave them a 200 year head start. You see,  time doesn¹t exist.
>> 
>> And it sure as hell ain¹t ever gonna change  the facts.
>> 
>> Peace, Love, and Billy Jack,
>> 
>> 
>> J
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> On 4/14/09 6:40 AM, "Marlene  Edelstein" <malkaruth2000 at yahoo.co.uk>  wrote:
>> 
>>  
>>> Shalom? Shalom? If it's peace and harmony you're  after don't go about
>>> calling Shakespeare a one-trick pony and denying that  he's a poet. Why the
>>> need to establish a hierarchy of the greatest? My love  of poetry and
>>> language was nurtured by by both Shakespeare and Milton (and  Keats, Chaucer
>>> and Pope, by the way); returning to either is a  rebirth.
>>> 
>>>               Marlene  R.  Edelstein
>>> 
>>>                
>>> 
>>> believe  everything, believe nothing
>>> 
>>> --- On Tue, 14/4/09, jonnyangel  <junkopardner at comcast.net>  wrote:
>>>  
>>>> 
>>>> From: jonnyangel <junkopardner at comcast.net>
>>>> Subject:  Re: [Milton-L] Is Paradise Lost
>>>> To: "John Milton Discussion List"  <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>>>> Date:  Tuesday, 14 April, 2009, 10:55 AM
>>>> 
>>>> Re: [Milton-L] Is Paradise Lost  Yes, Yes, and Yes. PL is the greatest work
>>>> of literature in the ³English²  Language; how could it not be? And you
>>>> really can¹t compare Shakespeare to  Milton (or vice versa), because Bill
>>>> was a playwright and John was (first  and foremost) a poet. But you you can
>>>> compare them with regard to  the fact that both were writer¹s, and both
>>>> wrote in the English language.  Shakespeare was a phenomenal verbal
>>>> linguist, and you can¹t deny that. But  Milton was a poet (which is
>>>> something Shakespeare simply wasn¹t), AND  Milton could also handle an epic
>>>> narrative, multiple characters, temporal  space, and the single largest
>>>> topic that exists: Man/Woman, Heaven/Hell,  God/Satan, and all of the
>>>> binaries of life¹s Black/White morality forming  grey areas that are still
>>>> being sought, fought, and argued over in the  21st century.
>>>> 
>>>> Look, when it comes to the heavyweights, whether  it¹s Milton/Shakespeare
>>>> or Frazier/Ali, it¹s all subjective. Is Godzilla  ³greater² than King Kong?
>>>> Is an electrolyte imbalance ³greater² than  cancer? They can (and often
>>>> will) take you to the same place at the end of  the day.
>>>> 
>>>> But if I could be fortunate enough to have an escort to  that place, I hope
>>>> Milton is my escort.
>>>> 
>>>> Shakespeare, for all of  his brilliance, was a one trick pony. Milton was a
>>>> jack of many trades,  and the master of most of them.
>>>> 
>>>> Even though you can argue someone  till you¹re blue in the face that PL is
>>>> the greatest work of English  Literature ever written, you will still get
>>>> arguments to the contrary ­  but there are other factors/variables in the
>>>> equation to be considered.
>>>> 
>>>> Shakespeare carved out his slice of the pie, and Milton served up  the
>>>> rest. 
>>>> 
>>>> Shalom, 
>>>> 
>>>> Jonathan B. Colburn
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> On 4/14/09 12:22 AM, "Alan Rudrum" <alanrudrum at gmail.com>  wrote:
>>>> 
>>>>  
>>>>> the greatest single work of  literature in the English language, as was
>>>>> stated on this list  recently?
>>>>> 
>>>>> Certainly it might be argued that it is; but when I  raised the question
>>>>> with the scholar nearest to hand, we said  simultaneously "What about King
>>>>> Lear?"
>>>>> 
>>>>> And then there is Wordsworth's Prelude,  which begins with a meaningful
>>>>> echo of Samson Agonistes, - not  every Milton scholar of my acquaintance
>>>>> managed to see this for  himself,- and speaks at least as well as Paradise
>>>>> Lost to the  concerns of many people one would hesitate to condemn as
>>>>> stupid.
>>>>> 
>>>>> Alan Rudrum
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>>  
>>>>> 
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>>>>> 
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>>>> 
>>>> 
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>>> 
>>>  
>>> 
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>>  
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>>  
>> 
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